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For Better or Worse, New City TIF Rules Headed to City Council

by John Hart, WSJ

John Hart, Wisconsin State Journal

By Mike Ivey, The Capital Times

Depending on your spin, tax increment financing is either A) a great tool for cities to encourage projects that otherwise wouldn’t happen or B) a giveaway to private developers that skews the market and slows tax dollars from flowing to the school district or the county.

In practice, it probably falls somewhere in between.

But with some major decisions looming over taxpayer support for a new downtown hotel, among other projects, an updated tax increment financing policy is finally headed to the Madison City Council.

Tax increment financing, or TIF, is a public financing method used to subsidize redevelopment, infrastructure and other community-improvement projects in almost every U.S. state. Simply put, it’s a way to use projected future gains in taxes to subsidize current improvements.

Madison has used TIF for years to assist investors on projects ranging from the Monona Terrace Hilton hotel to the Monroe Commons condo and grocery store project. Read more …

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